While editing a piece by Andrew King for the IT Leadership blog, which was called, "Executive engagement is the foundation of a successful ERP project," I was struck by this statement:
"If the troops don't see the executive taking an active role in the project, then they will also allow themselves to be distracted by day-to-day duties and thus, get behind on their responsibilities to the project."
As much as this statement holds true for executives, it's imperative for middle managers to keep in mind. The actions and attitudes of managers can have a profound effect on a work team's ability to function effectively. You want to show staff that you are committed to the behaviors and attitudes you promote as being important.
If you want your team to honor deadlines, then you need to meet yours. If you want your staff members to communicate with one another you need to do the same.
I'm not suggesting that you need to be perfect. There's nothing wrong with making mistakes. It's how you deal with their aftermath that's important. If you make a mistake and then ignore it or, worse, make excuses for it, then your team will learn to do the same thing. Acknowledge that mistakes happen, then admit your part in it, and demonstrate how to fix them.
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.